Skip to main content

Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

See other formats

INTRODUCTORY   ESSAY.                                     93
full growth of individuals on the one hand, and that exclude
gregarious species on the other. In the more humid jungles
of the luxuriantly clothed parts of India, a very few species
are to be found in close contiguity, but many in a moderately
large area. In the drier and hilly districts of Central India
we have found it difficult, especially in winter, to collect 150
species in a walk of several miles, and this where there was no
apparent want of trees, shrubs, or herbs. On the other hand,
during the' rains we have, in the Panjab, collected eighty
species, chiefly of tropical annuals, in an area of a hundred
yards square; these, however, were brought together by lotfal
circumstances, and the total Flora of the country for ten
miles around the same spot probably comprised less than 800
species. „ At 4-5000 feet elevation in the Khasia we have col-
lected upwards of fifty species of Gramme® alone, in an eight
miles* walk, and twenty to thirty Orchidea; but these are quite
exceptional cases.
There is almost a total absence of absolutely local plants in
India, at least so far as our experience serves us; but in say-
ing this, we are only giving the result of general impressions,
and of comparing the contents of our collections with those
of other travellers, and with the statements of trustworthy bo-
tanists in Australia and South America.
Before dismissing this branch of our subject, we may men-
tion that the general physiognomy of tl-e greater pajt of the
Indian Flora probably approximates more to that of Tropical
Africa than to any other part of the globe, accompanying in
both cases immense alluvial plains, bounded by deserts at cer-
tain points, and traversed by mountain-chains of moderate
elevation. The more loosely timbered drier regions probably
assimilate very much to the districts of Senegal, Upper Egypt,
and Abyssinia; the west shores of the Madras peninsula, and
the whole Malayan peninsula to the tropical African coasts;
and the deserts of Sind to those of North Africa.
Besides the absence of great forests, there is in India no
representative of the Catiugas of Brazil, the Pampa* of South